Baylor vs. West Virginia: Hate If You Must, the Bears Can Score with Anyone
After four games, there's not much that can be said about Baylor that hasn't been said already. The Bears put up points almost as if they don't mean to do it, but lord knows they just can't help themselves.
To his credit, head coach Art Briles lays off the accelerator by the time the fourth quarter begins, which usually means the opponent has been physically, mentally and otherwise spiritually dead for at least an hour and is beginning to smell. In 282 points on the year, Baylor has only scored 17 during the fourth quarter.
There are few ways to effectively describe what Baylor does on offense and how well it does it. In a 73-42 win over West Virginia Saturday night, the Bears, with their shiny and awesome reflective gold helmets, scored in about every way imaginable.
Sandwiched in between two drives of 12 and 14 plays, respectively, that averaged roughly 3:30 of game time—an eternity by Baylor standards—were back-to-back touchdowns on single-play drives of 47 and 80 yards.
In fact, Baylor's first-half drive chart looked like this:
Baylor 1stH Drives (en route to 617yds + 56pts): 75yds TD 75yds TD 47yds TD 80yds TD 80yds TD interception 77yds TD 77yds TD 74yds TD EOH— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) October 6, 2013
The rest of the game was almost as ridiculous. Baylor ended the night with 864 yards of offense, which is the most by any FBS team over the past 10 years, according to ESPN stats.
Baylor had 864 yards of total offense, the most by any FBS team in the last 10 seasons. The most previously was 844 by Nevada in 2010.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 6, 2013
It's also the worst defensive effort by a Mountaineer team ever.
It's the worst defensive performance for WVU in school history (and it's not close) - most points, yards and rushing yards given up.— Tony Dobies (@DOBIEST) October 6, 2013
That's saying something, given how historically bad WVU's defense was in 2012, and that was a team that gave up a more modest 63 points to Baylor in Morgantown.
WVU's defense has been much improved this year. It's certainly not elite, but it has done a good job holding Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to roughly three touchdowns less than what they normally average in points per game this season.
Against Baylor, the Mountaineers actually gave up more points than what the Bears were averaging, albeit only slightly. Point is, Baylor not only did to WVU what it had done to the likes of Wofford and Buffalo, it did it even better.
Still, the criticism about this Baylor team is that they haven't played a worthy opponent yet. You're not going to get a lot of argument from me on that front. West Virginia is Baylor's best win and the Mountaineers look like they'll be lucky to crack .500 this year.
That changes during the final month of the Bears' 2013 schedule, which features games against Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, among others. It's a back-loaded slate that will more accurately depict what Baylor really has later on in the season.
Maybe Baylor goes undefeated; maybe they don't. Maybe this offense continues to score 70-plus points every time they take the field; maybe they don't. But understand that there's a point where it doesn't matter if a team is averaging 70 points a game or 56 points a game—at least not unless the defense is giving up similar numbers.
Baylor is at that point.
On that subject, though, West Virginia scored 42 points Saturday. To put that into context, the Mountaineers normally average half of that a game. Some voters may look at that and think they've found the secret circuit board on Baylor's cyborg body that is half robot and half man-bear(pig).
The truth is, though, that was garbage time at its worst. WVU could have put up another three touchdowns. It still wouldn't have changed the fact that the game was over midway through the first quarter and Baylor could have kept scoring if it really wanted to.
The Bears are fast and efficient on offense, and they've yet to play an entire game. As a result, what's most impressive about them are the lack of mistakes they make on offense despite the blistering pace at which they operate combined with the short amount of time they're on the field each week. It's as well-oiled as anything in college football right now.
That's not to say it can't be slowed down. Every offense can if the opposing defense has the right players who execute the right scheme. But there aren't many defenses that come to mind who are capable of slowing it down.
Even then, there's no defense for an accurate pass, an amazing catch or a spectacular juke.
So yeah, Baylor will score a lot this season. Whether it can do so against elite competition remains to be seen, but what the Bears are doing right now from an execution standpoint is surreal.
That much, at least, must be acknowledged.
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